Student prank

Student prank

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University students have a long association with pranks and japes. These can often involve petty crime, such as the theft of traffic cone
Traffic cone
Traffic cones, also called traffic pylons, road cones, highway cones, safety cones, construction cones or witches' hats or safety wizards, are usually cone-shaped markers that are placed on roads or footpaths to temporarily redirect traffic in a safe manner...

s and other public property, or hoaxes. In fact, practical joke
Practical joke
A practical joke is a mischievous trick played on someone, typically causing the victim to experience embarrassment, indignity, or discomfort. Practical jokes differ from confidence tricks in that the victim finds out, or is let in on the joke, rather than being fooled into handing over money or...

s play such a significant part in student culture that numerous books have been published that solely focus on the issue of student pranks.

In some university towns, misbehaviour on the part of students became such an issue that a report has been released which studies the issue. The report, Studentification: A Guide to Opportunities, Challenges and Practice, by Universities UK, focuses on six British universities as case studies.

Theft



One classic target of student theft are traffic cone
Traffic cone
Traffic cones, also called traffic pylons, road cones, highway cones, safety cones, construction cones or witches' hats or safety wizards, are usually cone-shaped markers that are placed on roads or footpaths to temporarily redirect traffic in a safe manner...

s. The issue of the theft and misuse of traffic cones by students has gained enough prominence that a spokesperson from the UK National Union of Students has been forced to argue that "stereotypes of students stealing traffic cones" are "outdated".

Some universities have gone as far as to devote entire pages of legislation and advice for students with regards to the consequences and laws involving the theft of traffic cones. Misuse of traffic cones in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 has even resulted in serious physical injury.

A recent report by Student Direct
Student Direct
Student Direct is the weekly student newspaper of the University of Manchester, University of Salford and University of Bolton. The main part of the paper is produced by Manchester, though Salford and Bolton have a certain number of opt-out pages specifically relevant to their own students and...

 claims that the theft of traffic cones in the greater Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 area is at an all time high.

The traffic cone theft issue came to such a head in the 1990s that it was brought up in parliament.

In 2002, Fife
Fife
Fife is a council area and former county of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, with inland boundaries to Perth and Kinross and Clackmannanshire...

 Constabulary declared a "traffic cone amnesty" allowing University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews, informally referred to as "St Andrews", is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world after Oxford and Cambridge. The university is situated in the town of St Andrews, Fife, on the east coast of Scotland. It was founded between...

 students to return stolen traffic cones without fear of prosecution. A police spokesman had said that the theft of traffic cones had become "an almost weekly occurrence".

See also

  • Bullying in academia
    Bullying in academia
    Bullying in academia is workplace bullying of scholars and staff in academia, especially places of higher education such as colleges and universities...

  • Senior prank
    Senior prank
    A senior prank is a type of organized prank pulled by the senior class of a school, college, or university to cause chaos throughout the institution. The pranks are usually carried out at the end of the senior school year as a going away mark on the school, and in some cases have become something...

  • Capping stunt
    Capping stunt
    A capping stunt or capping is a New Zealand university tradition of student pranks wherein students perpetrate hoaxes or practical jokes upon an unsuspecting population...

  • Hacks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Hacks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Hacks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are practical jokes and pranks meant to prominently demonstrate technical aptitude and cleverness, or to commemorate popular culture and historical topics. The pranks are anonymously installed at night by hackers, usually, but not exclusively...

  • California Institute of Technology pranks